Life's Essential 8™ - How to Eat Better Fact Sheet

Create a Healthy Eating Pattern

Make smart choices and swaps to build an overall healthy eating style. Watch calories and eat smaller portions.

  • Enjoy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins, skinless poultry, fish and seafood.
  • Limit sweetened drinks, alcohol, sodium, red and processed meats, refined carbohydrates like added sugars and processed grain foods, full-fat dairy products, highly processed foods, tropical oils like coconut and palm.
  • Avoid trans-fat and partially hydrogenated oils (found in some commercial baked goods and fried foods).

Make smart choices and swaps to build an overall healthy eating style. Watch calories and eat smaller portions.

Read Nutrition Labels

Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you make healthier choices.

When you have more than one choice, compare nutrition facts. Choose products with lower amounts of sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.

Tips for Success

  • Watch Calories Eat only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. Understand serving sizes and keep portions reasonable.
  • Cook at Home Take control over the nutritional content of your food by learning healthy preparation methods.
  • Look for the Heart-Check The Heart-Check mark helps you find foods that can be part of a healthy eating plan.

In Need of Inspiration?

The American Heart Association has hundreds of heart-healthy recipes.

How to Eat Better Resources